A quick review of last night's "The Good Guys" coming up just as soon as my code for the copy machine works...
How did this happen? How did the creative team behind the new cop drama "Memphis Beat" (which premieres tonight at 10 on TNT) take so many elements that seemed promising and unique and turned it into such a blandly familiar series?
Among the things "Memphis Beat" has in its favor, on paper: It stars Jason Lee, one of TV's more unconventional leading men, with or without the "My Name Is Earl" mustache. It takes place in Memphis, which is not only one of America's great musical cities, but an atypical locale for a TV drama, about cops or otherwise. Its pilot was directed by Clark Johnson, who was behind the camera for the debuts of two of the all-time great, distinctive crime dramas in "The Shield" and "The Wire." Its supporting cast features multiple Emmy winner Alfre Woodard. And, oh yeah, Lee plays a cop by day, Elvis impersonator by night.
Even if those ingredients didn't combine for a cop classic ala "The Wire" or "The Shield" - heck, even if "Memphis Beat" wasn't any good at all - they should have at least led to something unusual and memorable in some way. Instead, it's an uninspired, assembly-line police show - one that had me forgetting about its existence even as I was still watching the pilot episode.
We're continuing our summer tour back through Joss Whedon's "Firefly" (at the end of this review I'll have links to the previous ones), this week with episode three, "Bushwhacked." A review coming up just as soon as I remind you of the story of the Good Samaritan...
Been a while since I did one of my Guess the Logo games, and even longer since I put any effort into making them even slightly difficult to guess. I'm sure this particular theme will be cracked within 30 seconds of my posting it, but I at least had fun deciding on these four as the representatives of that theme.
As on the old blog, I'm open to any and all suggestions for themed groupings. Shoot an e-mail to email@example.com if you have any ideas in mind. Frankly, one of the reasons they've been so rare on the new blog is that I had started to run out of good ideas on the old one, and was mainly leaning on your suggestions (most of which were used up before the move to HitFix).
What's your follow-up act when your previous series is held up by those who saw it as the greatest drama ever produced for television? Well, if you're "The Wire" co-creator David Simon, it's "Treme," the weekly love letter to New Orleans and its people - specifically to its musicians and those musically-adjacent - in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The passion "Wire" fans had for that show brought expectations to "Treme" that the new series couldn't possibly meet - especially since Simon and co-creator Eric Overmyer were not trying to do "The Wire: New Orleans." The overwhelming focus on character over plot was a jarring shift for many, as was the anger towards the outside world expressed by the characters played by Steve Zahn and John Goodman, whom some viewers assumed were just mouthpieces for the creative team.
I learned quickly to accept "Treme" as its own thing, and while I had some issues with the first season (particularly with the character of Sonny, whom Simon and I talk about in this interview), I loved the warmth of it, and the performances (both acting and music), and the sense of place and community and time it gave me. You can read my review of the finale here, and after the jump is a very long interview with Simon about the first season, and about some of the reactions to it. If you've read a Simon interview before, you won't be surprised to find the man to be his usually blunt (and profane), unapologetic self.
At the very end of the interview, we spent a few minutes looking ahead to some events from New Orleans in the second post-Katrina year that might be incorporated into "Treme" season two; I put a warning before that section so that if you view history as a spoiler, or simply don't want to know anything, you can stop reading.
Once again, I watch but don't much care for "True Blood," but I know that enough of you do that I'm going to provide these weekly posts to discuss the episodes after I've seen them. (I've watched the first three in advance; I'm not sure whether HBO will keep providing them in that fashion or if I'll be watching live or on a DVR delay as the season moves along.)
Anyway, just as soon as a baby armadillo sleeps under my bed, what did everybody think of episode two?
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I decided to wait for the end of the latest "Doctor Who" two-parter before reviewing it as a whole. Spoilers coming up just as soon as I'm authorized to negotiate on behalf of humanity...